Harbinger Founder’s Wife Accused Of Abuse, Homophobia

Feb 19 2010 | 1:15pm ET

The wife of hedge fund honcho Phil Falcone has been accused of abusing and sexually harassing their former house manager.

William Gamble filed suit against Falcone, who heads Harbinger Capital Management, and his wife, Lisa Maria, in Manhattan state court, accusing the latter of making sexual advances toward him and then assaulting him when they were rebuffed, the New York Post reports. Gamble, who is gay, also said that Lisa Maria liberally peppered her language with homophobic slurs around him—almost from the moment he was hired.

According to Gamble’s lawsuit, Lisa Maria asked him about his sexuality at his first interview for the job, which he began two years ago.

“Falcone thereafter saw fit to utter homophobic comments directed at gay people in general and [Gamble] in particular,” he alleged. She complained that Gamble “did not live up to her idea of what a stereotypical gay man should be” and once said all he needed was “a good fuck” to change him into a heterosexual.

The last straw—barely two months into his tenure—came during a family trip to their Caribbean estate that March. Gamble said “a visibily inebriated Falcone” attacked him, “forcibly pushing her hand down his pants to grab his genitals.”

“When rebuffed, Falcone struck [Gamble] three times with her hand forcefully enough to leave deep bruises on his abdomen.” Upon their return, Gamble said Falcone became “increasingly hostile,” and he was fired on April 4.

"This is an absolutely false, baseless lawsuit which is nothing more than a transparent attempt by a disgruntled former employee, let go after two months, to extract money," a Falcone family spokesman said. "Phil and Lisa Maria have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind and any suggestion to the contrary is completely untrue, as are all the other allegations in the complaint."

Separately, the family behind Harbert Management, which co-founded and seeded Harbinger, has settled an ugly dispute between siblings.

Marguerite Gray, daughter of the founder of the Harbert Corp. construction company, had sued her brother Raymond Harbert, accusing him of taking control of what was left of the construction company to founder Harbert Management, which in turn co-founded Harbinger.

Gray’s lawsuit was settled out of court yesterday. Terms were not disclosed.

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